<img height="1" width="1" alt="" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1482979731924517&amp;ev=PixelInitialized">

The Litigation Consulting Report

21 Ingenious Ways to Research Your Judge

Posted by Ken Lopez on Wed, Aug 14, 2013 @ 11:15 AM

how to research your judgeby Ken Lopez
A2L Consulting

For small town attorneys, it is possible to get to know a local judge quite well. Not only do you spend time in front of the local judges frequently, but you very likely see them socially as well.

Most of our clients, though, work in large and medium sized law firms in big cities. They likely try more cases outside of their home town than they do within it. They likely appear in court more often on a pro hac vice (temporary) basis than they do in the jurisdiction where they are admitted to practice. So for these lawyers and the teams that support them, it can be a real challenge to understand your judge’s likes and dislikes.

Local counsel’s anecdotal statements can be helpful, it’s true. All too often, however, they are hard to get much value from. Local counsel can usually tell you whether the judge has tried many cases like yours, something about his or her demeanor, his or her tolerance for outsiders, along with a sense of what arguments work. Like using Yelp for restaurants however, you have to judge not only the quality of the review but also the preferences of the reviewer.

In some jurisdictions, such as the Eastern District of Texas and the District of Delaware, local counsel know the judges well enough so that you can come to understand a judge's likely approach to your case. However, if you want more information, there are other techniques that make sense.

Here are 21 ways to research your judge:

1) Watch the Judge: Above all else, if your client has the budget, there is no substitute for watching your judge hear motions and preside over a similar case.

2) Commission a Judge Study: Our senior trial consultants prepare detailed judge studies that will help inform the tactics you use at trial.

3) Conduct a Mock Bench Trial: We are big believers in mock bench trials. The benefits are many and include: 1) forcing yourself to practice early; 2) hearing advice from colleagues of the judge; 3) getting a sense of what works and what does not. We have previously offered some great tips for conducting mock bench trials and getting great results.

4) Find Past Clerks: Here is an advanced Google search for finding former clerks of a judge. For this and other sample searches below, replace the judge's name and district as appropriate.

5) Research Any Controversies: Here is an advanced Google search for ferreting out controversies or scandals a judge may be involved in.

6) Research Memberships and Affiliations: Here is an advanced Google search for researching the memberships or affiliations of a particular judge.

Click here to Download a Free Litigation E-Book

7) Consult Judgepedia: This site is a comprehensive, up-to-date site that contains vast amounts of current information on federal and state judges. Modeled on Wikipedia, it gives useful background data on thousands of judges and on the state and federal court systems.

8) Visit The Robing Room: This judge-rating site is valuable because the feedback from lawyers is anonymous.

9) Visit RobeProbe: Here is another judge discussion site with reviews from lawyers. This site also has a number of international lawyers listed.

10) Research Donations: Here is a site to research donations to Pennsylvania judges' campaigns. Donations to campaigns regulated by the FEC are listed here.

11) Consult Social Media: Some judges are on LinkedIn, some are on Facebook and some are even on Twitter. It's up to you to find out. Our guide to social media for litigators will be generally helpful.

12) For Federal Judges, Read the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary: Unless you find a copy on Westlaw/Lexis or in your local law library, this tome will set you back almost $2,000. Still, it has a lot of useful information about judges including notable rulings, impressions of lawyers who have experience with the judge, as well as demeanor analysis and more.

13) Use Westlaw Tricks: Here is a guide that Westlaw offers for researching a judge.

14) Use Lexis Tricks: Here is a link to a PDF from LexisNexis entitled Researching A Judge.  It has some useful tips if you use Lexis. Here are a variety of resources that Lexis lists as well.

15) Use LawProspector Tricks: LawProspector is a service designed primarily to help litigation support business development efforts, however litigators can use it to quickly see other attorneys who have recently had a trial or hearing before a particular federal judge. It starts at $299/month, so a one-month subscription might be useful to find out who can give you some good advice.

16) Local Websites: Many jurisdictions, like Pennsylvania, New York and Florida, have detailed information about state court judges online.

17) Visit the Federal Judicial Center: Here you will find some useful information about federal judges and there is a focus on history here as well.

18) Subscribe to TRAC: This tool covers cases since 2004 in the federal judiciary and claims to "provide a unique way to examine the year-by-year work product of individual federal district judges." You'll find it here.

19) Visit Judicial Watch: This site attempts to collect financial disclosure information about particular judges. The coverage does not appear to be extensive in the federal courts, but you might luckily find your judge listed here.

20) How Long Will That Motion Take: Here are a variety of lists of slow moving judges in the US Courts.

21) Local Counsel: Of course you should talk to local counsel. This blog article from Texas law firm Charhon Callahan does a great job of explaining the value of local counsel and what to look for when selecting them.

complex civil litigation graphics free ebook guide download



Tags: Trial Consultants, Jury Consulting, Trial Consulting, Jury Consultants, Judges

Confidential A2L Consulting Conflicts Check Form

Join 8,800 Subscribers and Get Notified of New Articles Every Week

Watch Now: Using PowerPoint Litigation Graphics to Win - Webinar

using powerpoint litigation graphics

Free Litigation Webinars - Watch Now

ryan flax a2l litigation consultants webinar recorded

patent litigation webinar free litigation graphics demonstrative

Featured E-Book: The Patent Litigator's Guide to Trial Presentation & Trial Preparation

patent litigation ebook 3rd edition

Featured Free Download: The Complex Civil Litigation Trial Guide

a2l consultants complex civil litigation trial guide download

Free Webinar - Integrating Expert Evidence & Winning Arguments - Watch Anytime.

expert witness teach science complex subject courtroom webinar

Nationally Acclaimed - Voted #1 Jury Research Firm and #1 Demonstrative Evidence Firm in the U.S.

voted best demonstrative evidence consultants

A2L best demonstrative trial graphics consultants
best demonstrative evidence litigation graphics consultants

Download the (Free) Storytelling for Litigators E-Book

describe the image

Considering Using a Trial Technician at Your Next Trial? Download this first.

trial technicians trial technology atlanta houston new york boston virginia

Featured Free Download: Using Science to Prevail in Your Next Case or Controversy

using science to win at trial litigation jury

Featured FREE A2L E-Book: Using Litigation Graphics Persuasively

using litigation graphics trial graphics trial presentation consultants

Free Jury Consulting & Trial Consulting Guidebook for Litigators

jury consulting trial consultants guide

Timelines Appear In Most Trials - Learn how to get the most out of using trial timelines in this ebook

trial timelines graphics consultants litigators

Featured Complimentary eBook - The 100-page Antitrust Litigation Guide

antitrust ebook a2l litigation consultants

Featured Complimentary eBook - Leadership Lessons for Litigators and Litigation Support

leadership lessons litigation law firms litigation support

Featured E-Book: The Environmental Litigator's Guide to Trial Presentation & Prep

environmental litigation trial presentation trial prep ebook a2l


KenLopez resized 152

Ken Lopez founded A2L Consulting in 1995. The firm has since worked with litigators from all major law firms on more than 10,000 cases with over $2 trillion cumulatively at stake.  The A2L team is comprised of psychologists, jury consultants, trial consultants, litigation consultants, attorneys and information designers who provide jury consulting, litigation graphics and trial technology.  Ken Lopez can be reached at lopez@A2LC.com.


Tony Klapper joined A2L Consulting after accumulating 20 years of litigation experience while a partner at both Reed Smith and Kirkland & Ellis. Today, he is the Managing Director of Litigation Consulting and General Counsel for A2L Consulting. Tony has significant litigation experience in products liability, toxic tort, employment, financial services, government contract, insurance, and other commercial disputes.  In those matters, he has almost always been the point person for demonstrative evidence and narrative development on his trial teams. Tony can be reached at klapper@a2lc.com.

dr laurie kuslansky jury consultant a2l consulting

Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D., Managing Director, Trial & Jury Consulting, has conducted over 400 mock trials in more than 1,000 litigation engagements over the past 20 years. Dr. Kuslansky's goal is to provide the highest level of personalized client service possible whether one's need involves a mock trial, witness preparation, jury selection or a mock exercise not involving a jury. Dr. Kuslansky can be reached at kuslansky@A2LC.com.

Articles by Category

Follow A2L Consulting

Member Red Well Blog
ABA Blawg 100 2013 7th annual

Follow Us on Google+

A2L on Google+